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7 Types of Urban Planning Concepts Explained

One Alam Jaya aerial view

The process of building and designing urban areas is known as urban planning. The usage of open space, air, water, and the built environment, which includes buildings, transportation, economic, and social functions, are included in urban planning. Most often than not, an urban plan is used as part of a broader city plan.

Urban town planning encompasses a wide range of city-life features, including new and pre-existing land, buildings, roads, public spaces, transit, economic growth, infrastructure, and the environment, to name a few. Below, we’ve grouped these elements into distinct conceptual categories.

These are frequently referred to as types of urban planning. Still, it’s crucial to remember that they’re not mutually exclusive—a unified urban plan should encompass many, if not all, of the areas listed below.

1. Strategic Urban Planning

Setting high-level objectives and establishing preferred areas of development for a city or metropolitan region is the focus of strategic urban planning.  A strategic plan, also known as a development plan, core strategy, or comprehensive plan, is the end outcome of the planning process.

The strategic plan’s objectives might include enhancing city transit, developing additional communal spaces, increasing inhabitants’ quality of life, and enticing people to visit or relocate to the city. This is usually the highest level of the planning process, and other planning elements will usually fit into this sort of plan.

2. Land-Use Planning

Land-use planning is primarily concerned with law and policy, including the adoption of planning instruments such as governmental laws, regulations, rules, codes, and policies to impact land use.

These planning tools address the kind, location, and quantity of land required to carry out various municipal tasks on a general level. They may also be used to zone or reserve land for specific uses, such as:

  • Residential refers to structures such as apartment complexes, single-family houses, and condos.
  • Commercial refers to structures such as retail stores and office buildings.
  • Industrial refers to manufacturing facilities and warehouses.
  • Municipal refers to structures such as police stations and courthouses.

Consultation with the community and key stakeholders, like with other kinds of urban planning, is an essential aspect of land-use planning to promote transparency and include diverse interests into the final plan.

Transportation, commercial, and industrial planning should flow naturally into your strategic plan if you communicate it properly.

3. Master Planning

Master planning is often used for greenfield development projects or construction on previously undeveloped land when you’re beginning from scratch rather than changing existing buildings or areas.

This style of urban planning predicts what a particular location will look like in the future and what it will take to get there.

To make the project practicable, urban planners must consider the needed zoning (from your land-use plan) and infrastructure, such as residential and commercial property, transit considerations, road placements, and so on.

They must also determine where community facilities, schools, parks, and other urban amenities will be located. Again, communicating with landowners and government organizations who will be affected by the proposal is critical.

Town planners may also need to hire experienced consultants to gain vital knowledge and insights, ensuring that the design incorporates all possible perspectives and guarantee that the finished area is successful for years to come.

4. Urban Revitalization

Urban revitalization, in contrast to master planning, focuses on improving regions that are in decline. The precise definition of a declining area varies per city—for example, parts with a high number of failed companies or population growth that is static or falling.

Repairing roads, expanding infrastructure, cleaning up pollution, and adding to parks and other public spaces are some of the revitalization strategies used by city officials, depending on the main reason for the decline.

Residents and business owners frequently offer insights that may assist in influence and adjust planning efforts. Therefore, community participation is crucial with this urban planning idea.

To achieve the lofty apartments, you desire, you may need to convert the land use from industrial to residential, or you may need to incorporate environmental planning to clean up any issues from prior use cases.

5. Economic Development

Economic development is the process of finding areas for expansion to encourage more financial success inside a community, particularly by luring businesses to construct or relocate their offices there.

Following that, such businesses recruit local employees and boost commuter traffic to the new location. Increased exposure and spending in the neighborhood will result from more employees eating lunch at local eateries, obtaining gas at adjacent gas stations, and stopping by local grocery shops on their way home.

Because an economic development department may be separate from a municipality’s planning department, it’s critical to assist that group in navigating Land Use Plans, Master Plans, and Infrastructure Plans to verify that any development proposals are feasible. It will, of course, be necessary to collaborate with environmental plans.

6. Environmental Planning

Environmental planning is a sort of strategic planning that focuses on long-term sustainability.

Air pollution, noise pollution, wetlands, endangered species habitats, flood zone vulnerability, and coastal zone erosion, among other environmental issues affecting the link between natural and human systems, are all considered in this sort of urban design.

Along with master, revitalization, and infrastructure plans, environmental plans must be prepared. Don’t be disheartened if it seems that there are a lot of processes and criteria. While it may seem complicated, it will be preferable in the long run if all of your ideas work nicely together.

7. Infrastructure Planning

Infrastructure planning is concerned with the basic facilities and processes that serve a city and its residents and how such facilities might support the strategic plan’s aims. This category of urban planning includes:

  • Public works infrastructure: This includes water supply, sewage, electricity, and telecommunications.
  • Community infrastructure: This includes schools, hospitals, and parks.
  • Safety and transportation: This includes roads, police, and fire stations.

In a Nutshell

As the urban planning concepts show, proper planning takes a significant amount of effort, which involves working with a registered town planner and town planning consultant.

However, municipal, county, and state planning too, may have a beneficial, long-term influence on the community when done effectively.

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